FujiFilm FinePix X-S1 Full Review - Cameras For Photographers
Specifications 2:

Type:
DSLR-Like

Weight (inc. Battery) [?]:
945g

Wide Angle [?]:
24mm

Max. Focal Length [?]:
624mm

Zoom Range [?]:
x26

Sensor Size:
1/1.5"

Low Light Support [?]:
well lit rooms

Image Stabilization [?]:
Optical

Raw Format Support [?]:
yes

Manual Exposure [?]:
yes

Video Resolution [?]:
1080p

Optical Zoom In Video [?]:
yes

Stereo Sound [?]:
stereo

Battery Life [?]:
460 shots

Flip Lcd [?]:
flip

Touch Screen [?]:
none

Viewfinder [?]:
electronic

Freeze / Water / Shock - Proof [?]:
no

Dimensions (w-h-d) [?]:
135 x 107 x 149 mm

Macro Distance [?]:
1 cm

Built-in Wireless [?]:
none

Built-in GPS [?]:
none

Direct Video Button [?]:
yes

Panorama [?]:
sweep panorama

Rank: [?]
65.7

Initial Price:
$799 (change: $470, 59%)

Last Price Change:
$20 (6%) (May 14th)

Last Lowest Price:
$329





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FujiFilm FinePix X-S1 - Full Review

Last Lowest Price: $329
The X-S1 is one of a kind. No other camera combines such a large zoom with such a large sensor.
x-s1
    
FujiFilm FinePix X-S1 (photos: FujiFilm)
The X-S1's Price Watch:



Strengths & Improvements


Fuji has long been considered a pioneer and an innovator in the realm of cameras. Not to say that their cameras were, are and will be better than others or that they always include new features and technologies, far from it.

Like all camera manufacturers, Fuji has some really crappy cameras, but unlike other companies, Fuji dares to sail into uncharted waters. This characterizes all of their X line of cameras, each of them being like no camera seen before.

Such is the X-S1. It's not a fabulous camera, if to give the bottom line up front, but it is definitely one of a kind.
Its uniqueness stems from a combination of a larger than average imaging sensor (2/3" CMOS) same as the X20 and XF1 have, together with a x26 zoom lens.

Build Quality & Handling


Once in your hands, you sense that it's a serious piece of machinery. It's heavy, but there's more to it than that - its plastic parts are actually hardened rubber which seems to be able to withhold any outer force inflicted upon it.

Put your left hand on the mechancally zooming lens and you're in heaven. The dampness is just right. So is that of the manual focs just next to it. This camera radiated quality, in nothing but unobtrusiveness. So much so, in fact, that it's treading in DSLR territory, in size and in weight (but definitley not in zoom).

The button layout is intuitive and effective, with dedicated buttons for all commonly use settings and features (ISO, RAW, White Balance...) to the point where there's almost no use for the extra customizable Fn button. On the other hand, such a manual-oriented camera cries for a second dial in order to avoid the need to switch between aperture and shutter settings.

Performance


In general, this camera gives you a very large amount of control, be it via its vast menus, or by any one of its numerous buttons. It seems that these capabilites come at the cost of it being slow in response times.

The menus are a bit slow, especially considerring the body they work in, and on top of that, they are completey frozen while an image is saved. That could be a short time when shooting jpg's, but switch to RAW (worse yet - RAW + jpg) and those times are extended to three or four seconds.

Focus & Zoom Speed: There's nothing to complain about in this department. The zoom speed is as fast as you can turn your hand, which is most probably faster than any electronic zoom mechanism.

Focusing is good and nothing more since like in other areas of this camera, expectations are high due to its price and positioning. Disappointing is the fact that here, just like in the HS30EXR, the image freeze while focusing, allowing that bird you're following an excruciatingly long time fly out of the frame. During video, the autofocus works well most of the time, but struggles in full zoom, taking up to two whole seconds to lock.

Using manual focus is made easy thanks to the focus ring on the lens barrel and on top of that, you can get some help from the AF system by pressing the AF lock button (that's right - AF in manual focus mode). What manual focusing lacks here, is any kind of distance ruler, specifying at least the focus distance, if not also the effective depth of field.

Operation: The X-S1 naturally bears Fuji's menus and control system, for better or worse. It's a system you can love or you can hate - logically different than that of other companies. Its menus are remarkably simillar to that of the other X's in the family, the X10 and XF1.

Image Stabilization: Image stabilization is nothing short of amazing. Holding the camera as steady as you can, you can shoot with speeds as low as 1/4th of a second at full zoom.

Battery Life: The battery of the X-S1 provides a declared 460 shots per charge. Like with most other cameras, you can squeeze out more than that with frugal usage.

Compared to other Super-Zoom cameras, this figure is square in the middle, looking down at the Nikon Coolpix P520's miserable 200 shots and the Canon PowerShot SX50's 315, but also shaded by Fuji's own HS30EXR with its 500 shots and Panasonic's FZ200 with 540 shots per charge.

Image Quality


Colors & Contrast: The 2/3" EXR sensor coupled with the x26 Fujinon lens exhibits great colors and contrast throughout the zoom range, retained even at full zoom, creating pleasing photos of specific objects from a distance.

Dynamic Range:

ISO Range: This is an are where the X-S1 is expected to shine, and indeed it doesn't fail. Non presumingly, it offers high ISO settings of 6400 and 12800 at lower resolutions on top of its various EXR mode for enhancing detail level or minimizing noise levels.

The bottom line is images good for large prints up to ISO 400 (even 800 if you insist). For on screen use, acceptable detail level is retained up to ISO 1600, though at that level noise is highy visible. ISO 3200 is the break point, where noise starts to look ugly, colors look much less vibrant and detail level drops sharply.



High ISO Performance:


See how the X-S1 performs in various ISO sensitivities:

Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




High ISO Performance - 100% crops:


Here are full size crops of the images above:

Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




Last Lowest Price: $329


Zoom Capabilities:


Images are shown from the shortest focal length (wide angle) to the longest (telephoto).
Digital Zoom is shown by 'x' factor:


Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




Optical Zoom During Video:






Sample Images (hand held, out of camera, with no post processing):



1/350 sec, f/6.4, 624mm, ISO 100

1/640 sec, f/4, 24mm, ISO 100

1/300 sec, f/5.6, 624mm, ISO 400

1/300 sec, f/5.6, 624mm, ISO 100

1/500 sec, f/4, 24mm, ISO 400

1/280 sec, f/6.4, 624mm, ISO 200

1/300 sec, f/6.4, 624mm, ISO 100

1/480 sec, f/4, 53mm, ISO 100

1/300 sec, f/5.6, 624mm, ISO 100

1/2500 sec, f/9, 90mm, ISO 100


Rank:

Automatically compared to similar cameras, based on specifications:

Low Light:
 

Wide Angle:
 

Zoom Range:
 

Weight:
 

Other Features:
 

Price:
 

Total Rank:
65.7


 
FujiFilm FinePix X-S1 Eyal Gurevitch March 06, 2013 $329 65.7 100

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